Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2013
On Wednesday, May 22 Maria Laura Balcazar '13 was named All-Miami-Dade Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Each year the Miami Herald’s high school sports writers and editors honor a dozen of the area’s finest high school student-athletes. Of that select group, the Herald selects one “All-Miami-Dade Scholar-Athlete of the Year.” This year that honor went to Carrollton senior Maria Laura Balcazar '13. Known as “Lala” to her friends, Balcazar has excelled in cross-country and track and field, as well as in the classroom. The prestigious award recognizes the student with the strongest combination of athletic and academic accomplishments.
“This is an incredible honor for Lala,” said Matt Althage, Athletic Director at Carrollton. “She is not only incredibly driven and hardworking, but she is great leader both on and off the field.”
Balcazar was given the award Wednesday morning at the Herald’s annual sports banquet, which honors athletes and coaches from Miami-Dade and Broward counties in 17 high school sports categories. Her long list of athletic accomplishments include: All-Dade First Team in Cross Country since ninth grade, All-American in the 3,000m, 3rd in the 3,000m and 5th in the 1,500m in the USATF. Academically Balcazar is in the top one percent of her graduating class, she is a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist, IB Full Diploma Candidate and a Silver Knight Nominee in General Scholarship.
To see Maria Laura Balcazar’s profile in Wednesday’s Miami Herald visit: http://media.miamiherald.com/smedia/2013/05/17/01/22/lMWO0.So.56.pdf
Posted Monday, May 20, 2013
Carrollton recently competed in the Epiphany Spanish Competition and the Florida State Chinese Competition.
Carrollton recently competed and did an outstanding job in both the Epiphany Spanish Competition and the 2013 Florida State Competition:
On May 11, Carrollton's Intermediate and Junior High students competed in the Spanish Competition at “Epiphany School” alongside St. Thomas the Apostle, St. Brendan, and Epiphany. The students competed in three categories: “spelling”, “poetry”, and “expressive reading.” Carrollton’s students demonstrated their talent, knowledge and preparation while participating in all of the mentioned categories. Unlike past competitions, the Epiphany Spanish competition had students present in front of a conglomerate of parents, students and other teachers. This new challenge was an added component to what has previously been expected of them. The students’ strong commitment and their disciplined approach to preparing for this event, demonstrated the qualities instilled in our students: courage, confidence and grace under pressure. We congratulate all of our participants for their stellar performance and humility in their success. Awards were given as follows:
Third place: Samantha Hasner '19
Second place: Olivia Cartaya '19
First place: Isabella Díaz '19
Third place: Gabriela Carratala '18
Second place: Nia Sweet '18
First place: Carolina Chi '18
Third place: Miranda Ortega '19
First place: Cecilia De la Guardia '19
Second place: Olyvia Middleton '18
First place: Mikayla Alsoop '18
Second place: Sarah Lobo '17
Third place: Eleni Gianulis '19
Third place: Cecilia Amaro '18
Second place: Isabella Puig '18
Second place: Victoria Pinter '17
First place: Rebecca Luaces '17
Second place: Daniella French '19
Third place: Irene Labarta '17
First place: Elisa Baena '17
Second place: Gracie Haughland '19
First place: Carolina Perez '19 / Kelly Ann Cosentino '19
First place: Mía González - Llorens '19
First place: Marika Boink '18
First place: Lucy Hornbacher '17
First place: Andreina Macedo '19
First place: Gabriella Díaz '18
First place: Francesca López '17/ Caitlin Dowell- Esquivel '17
Another recent competition in which eleven 6th graders from the Intermediate School participated in was the 2013 Florida State Chinese Competition. This is the first year 6th graders have participated in a state-wide Chinese competition. The students competed against other middle school students from 6th to 8th grade, including Carrollton’s own Junior High students, and received remarkable results. See Junior High Chinese Competition Results
Award winners are as follows:
Outstanding Award Winners:
Gabriela Lorenzo '19
Ana Poasda '19
Serena Collarte '19
Excellent Award Winners:
Andrea Dominguez '19
Carolina Hassun '19
Sofia Vila '19
Matilde Cingolani '19
Carolina Hassun '19
Ana Posada '19
Ivelyn Harris '19
Ana Sofia Amayo '19
Serena Collarte '19
Sofia Vila '19
Matilde Cingolani '19
Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2013
On Friday, May 10 members of the Class of 2013 were inducted into the Carrollton Alumnae Association and the Associated Alumnae & Alumni of the Sacred Heart (AASH).
With graduation less than a month away, senior Meredith Angueira is having what she calls a “pre-life” crisis. She looks at the changes on the horizon with equal parts excitement and anxiety.
“Since I often imagine my life as a movie script in the process of being written, the orchestra is coming to an emotional swell and it’s clear that I am on the verge of a major plot shift,” said Angueira speaking in front of fellow seniors and their guests.
Angueira gave the senior address at the Senior Induction Ceremony to the Associated Alumnae & Alumni of the Sacred Heart (AASH), held Friday evening in Founders Library on the Barat campus. Known simply as “Pin Ceremony,” the annual event celebrates the passage from Carrollton student to alumnae. Seniors select a Sacred Heart graduate, often a mother, aunt or teacher, to pin and officially welcome them into the worldwide Sacred Heart alumnae community.
With 22 schools in the United States, and more than 200 schools around the globe, including schools throughout Europe, Asia and South America, the 200-year-old Society of the Sacred Heart is rich in tradition and diversity. And yet despite the geographical and cultural differences, both students and alumnae point to a number of shared traits.
“I’ve come to notice a few defining features of Sacred Heart women that reassure me of my ability to tackle what’s to come, “ said Angueira, who began Carrollton 15 years ago. “If we look at a Sacred Heart woman we can see a sparkle of hope in her eyes, love in her touch, conviction in her soul, determination in her voice, and God in her heart.”
Alejandra Moreno ’02 put it more bluntly. “Being a Carrollton girl, out in the real world, is like tattooing the Sacred Heart to your forehead,” said Moreno in her alumnae address.
It was only after Moreno graduated that she began to understand the true value of her Sacred Heart education. “This gift that Carrollton is giving you is something you hold in your heart internally,” she said.
The seniors were each given a blue, red, and black pin with the inscription “adveniat regnum tuum” (Latin for “thy kingdom come”) by their alumna pin sister. Headmistress Suzanne Cooke, RSCJ, then presented each senior with a personalized envelope containing a Sacred Heart passport, an AMASC information card as well as a Mater card. While the distinctive pin has long been given to Sacred Heart graduates, it difficult to pinpoint the year Carrollton began marking the occasion with an official ceremony. Early alums remember simply receiving their pins from Carrollton’s then Headmistress Catherine Baxter, RSCJ, in the Performing Arts Center (PAC) with little fanfare. Over the years the ceremony has evolved into a special moment of reflection at an otherwise busy and chaotic time. Seniors are in the midst of end of year exams, weighing college acceptances and just a few weeks shy of graduation.
Despite the distractions and understandable excitement over graduation, Alumnae Council President Annemarie Harris Block ’76 says the Pin Ceremony is the one Carrollton event she never misses. “There is a sacredness to this night,” said Block, who Friday pinned Julie Steinbauer ‘13. “You can see the look in their eyes, for many girls it is starting to click and they are realizing for the first time this isn’t about high school or even college, it is about being prepared for the rest of their lives.”
Once they received their pins, Sister Cooke spoke to the new alumnae about St. Madeleine Sophie’s vision of Sacred Heart graduates – women of courage, confidence and compassion.
“Always remember your life is your composition, and its direction is your choice,” said Sister Cooke, referring to Angueira’s remarks about her life as movie script. “You must see yourselves the way God sees us, as his Beloved. Open your heart to God’s grace.”
St. Madeleine Sophie Barat believed that through their lives, and by their example, graduates spread the objectives of Sacred Heart education into the world. With that “sparkle of hope in her eyes, love in her touch, conviction in her soul, determination in her voice, and God in her heart,” Angueira urged students to be the heroine of their own movie.
Cue the credits, Carrollton’s 50th graduating class is (almost) on its way. View the Class of 2013 College and University Matriculation List and the College and University Acceptances List.
Alumnae who participated in Friday’s ceremony shared their thoughts on the lasting impact of their Sacred Heart education. Here are a few of their comments:
“My Sacred Heart education endowed me with the curiosity and confidence that carried me through my undergraduate and graduate schooling,” said Marianne Palacios ’05, a graduate of the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, Connecticut and currently a high school teacher at Carrollton. “I aspire to help my students grow in the way that Sacred Heart helped me to grow,” said Palacios, who pinned Cristina Fernandez ’13 and Caitlyn Meagher ’13.
“I keep in my heart that each and every person we encounter in a day is a child of God,” said Madeleine McQuillan Fields ‘78, who pinned her daughter Alexandra Fields ‘13. “I credit this to my Sacred Heart education.”
“Carrollton provided me with many intellectual and moral values that have helped shape who I am,” said Cristina Mendia Beauperthuy ’83, who pinned her daughter Cristina Beauperthuy ‘13. “It instilled in me a sense of independence and confidence that allowed me to reach success in many facets of my life.”
Posted Monday, May 13, 2013
Students Macki Alvarez-Mena '14, Daniela Perez '13 and Catalina Ruiz '13 were chosen for the Locust collaborative art project.
Art students Macki Alvarez-Mena '14, Daniela Perez '13 and Catalina Ruiz '13 were selected to participate in the Locust Arts Builders Collaborative Summer Project by South Florida High School Students.
Competing against high school students from all over Miami-Dade for 14 positions, all three Carrollton students who applied for the project were accepted. These students will work for three weeks with other local high school students and artists to create a site specific art exhibition that will have it’s opening reception during the July Second Saturday gallery walk at Locust Projects in the Design District.
About the Locust Projects:
Locust Projects is pleased to announce a collaborative exhibition by a select group of South Florida High School students. Under the direction of renowned contemporary artist Monica Lopez de Victoria of the TM Sisters, fourteen local high school students will experience the invigorating and arduous process of conceiving and executing original artworks.
The students, currently attending American Senior High, Design and Architecture Senior High, Dr. Michael M. Krop High, Gulliver Academy, Hialeah High, New World School of the Arts, and Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart were selected from an open call by a committee of local art professionals.
As a hallmark that makes Locust Projects stand out from other art venues, the organization embraces cutting-edge exhibitions and innovation in art. In furtherance of the not-for-profit’s fourteen-year commitment to providing an approachable arts venue for the South Florida community, for the fourth year, Locust Projects presents exciting new program in which a young generation of artists are given the opportunity to create a collaborative exhibition in a public venue.
The project, developed in Locust Projects’ 5,000 square foot space in Miami’s Design District, culminates with an exhibition, open to the public. The goal is to promote contemporary art and project-based learning as a means to encourage creativity, critical analysis, and problem solving, while building communication skills. This unique initiative allows young artists to learn the practical and exciting aspects of creating a public exhibition in collaboration with their peers.
Read more by visiting http://www.locustprojects.org/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/2012/the-lab.shtml
The opening reception will take place at the Gallery Walk on Saturday, July 13, 7-10 pm. The exhibition will remain on view through mid-August 2013.
Posted Thursday, May 9, 2013
Carrollton wins first place in their respective category and second place overall at the Star-Power Regional Dance Competition.
Recently, the Carrollton High School Dance Team coached by Mrs. Gordana Tepavac represented Carrollton at the Star-Power Regional Dance Competition in Fort Lauderdale. Team members that competed included Amanda Clichy '16, Lourdes Magolnick '16, Cecilia de Armas '16, Ana Alvarez '15, Emily Ariz '15, Misha Cruz '15, Madison Hall '15, Juliette Hernandez '15, Valerie Francillon '15, and Isabel Mendia '14. They performed a hip hop routine and won first place in their category and second place overall. This is the first time Carrollton participates in this regional competition.
Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Read about Carrollton's top high school debaters and its nationally recognized Debate Program.
Around Carrollton it’s not uncommon to spot seniors Mary Grace Darmody '13 and Francis Swanson '13 studying in the library or pouring over research papers. The two friends have been inseparable since Francis, known as Fran, started Carrollton in seventh grade. They spend so much time together a teacher refers to them in jest as “Mary Fran.”
Like many girls their age, they can spend hours talking. Yet, unlike most, these teens are likely discussing the merits of some obscure federal policy.
Darmody and Swanson are two of the country’s top high school policy debaters.
For the past four years they have charted an impressive course of success, starting with their first win during their freshman year at a tournament in Texas.
“We won the tournament in the novice division and I was first speaker,” said Darmody. “At first the overwhelming emotion was shock! But afterwards I remember thinking ‘wow, maybe I could actually be good at this.’"
Since that win, the two have competed in dozens of nationally ranked tournaments, earning enough awards to fill a large trophy case and the respect of even their fiercest competitors.
Tim Mahoney is Director of Debate at St. Mark’s School in Dallas, Texas, one of the nation’s premier debate teams. He has only high praise for the pair and the “elite” Carrollton program.
“Carrollton's debate program has started to routinely produce young women like Fran and Mary Grace – smart but humble, nice but strong, competitive but polite,” said Mahoney. “As the father of a two year old daughter I could want nothing more than for her to grow up to be like one of Carrollton's top debaters.”
Competing at the highest level
Carrollton participates in a form of debate known as “policy debate,” which is conducted by teams of two students who advocate for and against a resolution that typically calls for policy change by the United States federal government. According to Carrollton’s Director of Debate, Dana Randall, policy debate is one of the most challenging formats, has the greatest academic integrity, and, as the only style of debate practiced in both high school and college, provides students with the most opportunities for scholarships.
Last month Carrollton competed in the 2013 Tournament of Champions (TOC), considered debate’s most prestigious national tournament. The competition is held each year during the last week in April at the University of Kentucky. This year, two Carrollton teams qualified for the TOC. The team of Meredith Angueira ’13 and Miranda Ryshawy ‘14 earned four bids, while the team of Darmody and Swanson earned eight.* Angueira and Ryshawy finished the preliminary rounds with a winning record and, of the 74 teams that competed this year, ranked 22nd. Meanwhile, Darmody and Swanson finished the preliminary rounds of competition ranked 2nd, and finished the competition ranked third in the nation. Out of the 148 speakers, Swanson was recognized as the country’s 14th top speaker. Darmody was named 2nd speaker, and missed winning the tournament’s renowned Top Speaker award by just 0.2 points.
Remarkably, Darmody almost decided not to pursue debate. At the end of eighth grade, when she was deciding on an elective for freshman year, Darmody – who started Carrollton in kindergarten – couldn’t decide between debate and art. She calls it a “happy coincidence” that she checked off “Introduction to Debate.” She remembers being fascinated from day one by the course’s in-depth conversations about politics and current events.
Living the Sacred Heart Goals
When speaking about their love of debate, both Darmody and Swanson say they enjoy the sense of camaraderie and friendship. For them the program embodies the goals St. Madeleine Sophie envisioned for Sacred Heart education, including promoting critical thinking, encouraging self-discipline, building community, and emphasizing social justice.
Both girls are active in Breakthrough Miami, one of Carrollton’s community partners, which provides educational and enrichment activities for children from underserved communities across Miami-Dade County. “Regardless of what field any young person chooses to pursue, I can guarantee you that each one of them will have a moment when they must advocate on behalf of themselves,” said Swanson of her volunteer work teaching young children about debate. “Having the confidence and skillset to do that effectively has been important to me. I’m grateful that Carrollton has coaches who make it clear that we have a responsibility to share that knowledge with others.”
It should come as no surprise that Darmody and Swanson are hard workers. They spend upwards of twenty hours a week researching arguments, practicing and perfecting their skills.
“We never want to look back and wish that there was more we could have done to have prepared,” said Swanson. “I think it’s that work ethic that has allowed us to be persistent, which is essential when debating at the highest levels because talent differentials become less pronounced.”
Over the years the pair say they’ve learned how to work as a unit, and as Darmody puts it, practically read each other’s minds “often there are times one of us knows what the other will say before it's even said.”
Creating a top-tier debate program
Darmody and Swanson are the first to admit they have benefited from the work of their predecessors, who built Carrollton’s debate program into what it is today. Over the past decade, the program has flourished into what Aaron Timmons, Director of Debate at the Greenhill School in Dallas calls “one of the best programs in the country.“ Carrollton currently has the only all-female, nationally competitive policy debate team in the United States.
“As a lifelong coach/Director of Debate, I have seen a variety of programs come and go over the years,” said Timmons. “There are a handful of programs that do it right. It is my professional opinion that the program at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart is, without question, one of those programs.”
Carrollton began a debate program in the late nineties. Sr. Cooke immediately recognized the potential for the program and recruited a nationally recognized debate coach, Joseph Carter in 2005. Carrollton teams found themselves not only competing in national tournaments but also winning. In 2006, two Carrollton teams qualified for the Tournament of Champions (an astounding accomplishment for a relatively new school program). Since that season, Carrollton has not only qualified for the tournament, dubbed the Super Bowl of high school debate, on a regular basis, but they have also appeared in elimination debates during each of those years – placing them among the top 16 teams in the country.
“The team of Mary Grace and Francis is not the exception at Carrollton, they typify the rule that Carrollton will have a team that competes to be the best in the nation every year,” said Mahoney of St. Mark’s School in Dallas.
The bar was set high in 2010 when Anna Dimitrijevic '11 was named top speaker at the Tournament. She was the first girl to win the prestigious award in decades. Dimitrijevic is currently in her sophomore year at Harvard University, where she is ranked in the top ten nationally of 2-person college debate teams. (See below, "WHERE ARE THEY NOW?" for a listing of other notable recent alumnae involved with debate.)
“Carrollton Debate has an incredible legacy of talented alumnae, shaped by our coaches and the Sacred Heart values,” said Swanson of former students, including Dimitrijevic, who helped guide and mentor her as a freshman on the team. “These women are using their intelligence and diligence to improve the lives of others. Current debaters look to them as examples of the women of ‘courage and confidence’ that is the essence of a Sacred Heart education.”
Balancing fire and heart
While Carrollton’s debate program’s accomplishments are impressive, the debate community is most impressed by the way they win.
“They are fierce competitors but always balance the fire and heart I love to see, with respect, and compassion for their opponents – that is a balance that is hard to find,” said Timmons. ”They are brilliant, passionate, incredible speakers and, unlike some other female debaters, not only are they not concerned about debating young men, I love how they sometimes put them in their place!”
Michael Greenstein of Glenbrook North and South Schools in Chicago, Illinois, echoed Timmons’ praise. “One thing I know I can count on is that Carrollton will always be a class act; a model for how students and coach should embrace victory and deal with defeat,” he said.
This year, Swanson was a finalist for the Julia Burke Award for Character and Excellence in National High School Policy Debate, an award that recognizes a high school policy debater who not only achieves competitive excellence in high school policy debate on the national circuit, but also demonstrates goodness of heart throughout the pressures of competition at the highest level.
“I think the nomination and making the final ballot speaks volumes about how the competitive debate community sees Fran Swanson and the Carrolton debaters,” said Shunta Jordan, Director of Debate at Pace Academy in Atlanta.
As the current Director of Debate, Dana Randall is proud to continue the tradition of excellence. Together with debate coaches Andres Gannon and Brett Bricker, she puts in long hours, helping to ensure that the girls are informed and prepared for their competitions. She helps place them in top debate camps during the summer, nurturing talent and instilling a sense of discipline. Carrollton currently offers an Introduction to Debate course for freshman, and an Intermediate Debate course for sophomores. Additionally, students interested in pursuing debate can join the junior varsity or varsity debate team as an extracurricular activity. This summer rising sophomores and juniors will attend debate camps at a number of colleges and universities, including Georgetown, Michigan and Northwestern to hone their skills and prepare for next year.
“Debate has created an extraordinary buzz at Carrollton," said Sister Cooke. "The program's strongest contribution to the life of the high school lies in the students’ deep commitment to scholarship and the intellectual life. Their desire to know and understand issues inspires many to take action on behalf of people whose voices are sometimes muted by the complexity of society’s challenges. As classmates listen to Carrollton debaters, the intellectual discourse of an entire community has been enhanced.”
While Randall is understandably proud of the many plaques, trophies and awards lining the walls of the debate room – not to mention the scholarships earned by debate members – she is especially proud to watch the girls compete with grace and integrity.
“There’s no question debate gives students a leg-up academically, but the real values of the program are the life-long lessons of character, discipline and courage,” said Randall.
Randall was one of three finalists for an excellence award presented annually by National Debate Coaches Association (http://www.debatecoaches.org/) in recognition of the educator who most contributes to the wellbeing and growth of their students and the community at large. Randall is the first Carrollton Director of Debate to be nominated and be a finalist.
As for Darmody and Swanson, both National Merit scholars, they are taking their talents to Cambridge, Massachusetts in the fall. After being accepted by a number of the country’s top colleges and universities, they both opted to attend Harvard. In their own way, they hope to advocate for change and improve lives. They learned from their years at Carrollton that sitting on the sidelines is not an option.
Swanson puts it this way: “Debate reminds us that life is not a spectator sport. Decisions are made by people who invest themselves in the issues.”
Darmody plans on studying global health and public policy. Swanson, a self-described “Supreme Court dork” has her eye on the law. “Based on my debate experience, I think I would enjoy being a litigator,” said Swanson.
One could argue that their debate experience has prepared both girls for just about anything.
*Teams earn an invitation to the Tournament of Champions (TOC) by advancing to and winning at least two “bid rounds” at various national tournaments throughout the debate season.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Success has followed Carrollton’s top debaters into college and beyond. Below is a small sampling of some former team members:
Yvanna Cancela ’06: graduated from Northwestern University; honored last month at the White House for her work in immigration reform. She was one of 11 individuals to receive this year's César Chávez Champions of Change award.
Elyse MacNamara ’06: former member of the Wake Forest debate team; recipient of the Debate Presidential Scholarship; recently graduated from American University Washington College of Law.
Dorothy Anne Hector ‘08: graduated from Georgetown University where she qualified for the National Debate Tournament; she spent the past year working for a non-profit in Peru and will attend the London School of Economics this fall. Dorothy Anne was also a finalist for the Julia Burke Award for Character and Excellence in National High School Policy Debate.
Catalina Santos ’08: former member of the Harvard University debate team; currently a law student at the University of Chicago.
Leandra Lopez ’09: currently a member of the debate team at the University of Mary Washington.
Lauren Sisak ’10: currently a member of the debate team at Wake Forest University; recipient of the Debate Presidential Scholarship.
Anna Dimitrijevic ’11: currently a sophomore at Harvard University; ranked in the top ten of 2-person college debate teams in the country.
Fabiola Urdaneta ’12: currently a freshman at Columbia University and a member of the school’s parliamentary debate team.
Valeria Villa ’12: currently a member of the debate team at Wake Forest University; recipient of the Debate Presidential Scholarship.
Read More News Articles
Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Junior High engineering students earn Honorable Mention in the Toshiba/NSTA Exploravision National Contest.
Students in the Junior High Engineering class participated in the Toshiba & the National Science Teachers Association’s Exploravision National Competition, which encourages K-12 students to imagine what technology would look like in the future. The project “Clean Fish Till the End,” submitted by Tarina Touret ‘17, Donatella Donado ‘18, Sarah Cornide ‘18, and Victoria Fernandez ‘18, has been selected by the judges as Honorable Mention Winner. This distinction of exceptional merit places this team’s project among the top 10% of all nationwide Exploravision projects submitted to the competition this year. These students are commended for a job well done in demonstrating innovative thinking in their exploration of science and engineering, and their impact on technology and the future.
Posted Monday, May 6, 2013
Six Carrollton students were recently nominated for The Miami Herald's Silver Knight Awards, which recognizes students for academic achievement and commitment to community service.
The Miami Herald Silver Knight Awards is one of the nation’s most highly regarded student awards programs instituted in 1959 by John S. Knight, past publisher of The Miami Herald, founder and editor emeritus of Knight-Ridder Newspapers and 1968 Pulitzer Prize winner.
Each year, The Miami Herald Silver Knight Program recognizes students who have combined stellar academic performance with committed community service projects. These students take on the role of advocacy for a variety of causes through their service and fundraising talents while excelling in the rigorous curriculum of Carrollton’s college preparatory program. Carrollton has a long history of Silver Knight nominees that have exemplified the standards the award represents. Last year, Molly Nuell ’12 received Honorable Mention as a nominee in the speech category. The Carrollton Community would like to congratulate this year’s six Silver Knight Award Nominees!
Alejandra Alvarez '13 – English
Alejandra and her sister, Gabriela Alvarez (2015), founded the Empty Attic Project, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt, not-for-profit organization. This project seeks to collect second-hand American Girl dolls and accessories. Alejandra and her sister recognized “the necessity of and the value in giving back to the children of our community a joy that meant so much to us as young girls…” Through their website, The Empty Attic project has been able to make contact with several organizations and donors willing to help. In 2012, the Project was able to donate new and used American Girl dolls and accessories to the Redlands Christian Migrant Association in Florida City and the Family Counseling Services of Greater Miami. Alejandra plans on passing on the presidency of the club to her sister at the end of her senior year, but plans to continue working with the program and growing interest through her new relationships.
Maria Laura Balcazar '13 – General Scholarship
In addition to her many academic and athletic accomplishments, Maria Laura’s contribution to the plight of women in developing countries around the globe has been demonstrated through her work with Carrollton’s Human Rights Club. In addition to presentations made to her high school community, she has organized and participated in various fundraising opportunities to provide aid to women and human trafficking victims through such organizations as: Women for Women, WISER, KIVA, Zami Beni, CAI, and Kristi House Shelter in Miami. Maria Laura sums up her commitment eloquently, stating: “As a Catholic and an individual, I believe in the equality of all human beings and their intrinsic dignity.” Maria Laura hopes that the raising of awareness has impelled others to act on behalf of these victims.
Carolina Diaz '13 – World Language
Having been diagnosed with skin cancer at a young age, Carolina was inspired to bring sun exposure education to children in her community. Together with the administration at Blue Lakes Elementary, Carolina was able to design the Sun Safety Program for the benefit of the students there. Through this program, she was able to provide the students with hats and bring in a dermatologist who spoke to the students about the dangers of sun exposure; but Carolina’s contributions to the school did not stop there. She is also responsible for the mural in the school’s butterfly garden and the new playground
for the school’s autism program. Partnering with KABOOM!, Carolina was able to raise funds for the building of the playground and the canopy over it to protect the students from the sun. The canopy is especially important to the students in the autism program as it has helped them from “stimming”, a negative response from sensory over stimulation. Carolina is confident that the school’s various donors will continue to support the project in the school.
Gabriela Gonzalez '13 – Math
“For most, math=boring + unoriginal. I have come to understand that, at its highest level, math is innovative and unpredictable.” This is how Gabriela feels about her favorite subject, and she has channeled this passion into her service project. Gabriela partnered with Breakthrough Miami and solidified the already existing relationship the school had with the program. Through her work with Breakthrough, Gabriela was involved in mentoring middle school girls and providing emotional and academic support to those who needed it. She shared her love of math with the students in the program by teaching math and critical thinking skills. Her initial involvement led her to create her own club at the school to inspire others to participate in the Breakthrough mentoring program. Under her leadership, the club hosted fundraisers, activities and presentation to support the program. Her volunteer work led to an internship with the program where she was able to share her passion with others.
Kristin Gonzalez '13 – Athletics
It is no secret that Kristin’s passion is golf. As an active part of her life, her passion for this sport led to her found the PYTees’ Girls Golf Club in partnership with First Tee of Miami. “I was inspired by the limited voice girls had in the local junior golf community,” writes Kristin in her application for the Silver Knight Program. “I believed that given a voice and support, more girls would gain access to the sport and be retained in competitive and recreational play.” Working closely with First Tee, Kristin formed a girls division and established a free clinic on Saturdays where girls were given coaching and access to the Melreese Golf Course. Kristin worked to develop lesson and coaching plans and topics of discussion for each of the clinic’s sessions. She was also able to bring in guest speakers like LPGA Professional Cristie Kerr to speak to the program members about women in the sport. Kristin hopes that this program will help girls “to advocate for themselves from a place of self-respect and self-worth.
Hailey Russell '13 – Social Science
Inspired by a woman in Jamaica who had adopted a young girl and who was having difficulty buying school supplies for her, Hailey and her sister Kiera (Class of 2011) created Smile for a Child while Hailey was still in middle school. This organization serves to support the Broughton Basic School in Jamaica, which caters to low income families. Through several fundraising events, Hailey’s organization was able to provide the school with much needed school supplies for the existing school. The club is now working to build a new school for the students, and as of January 2013, they had raised enough money to pour a new roof on the existing school building. Hailey notes the effect of starting small, stating that she “started off helping one girl, which led me to help a whole school…” She plans to continue her work with the organization after graduation this year.
Posted Friday, May 3, 2013
Alexandra Fields '13 has committed to playing for the Middlebury College tennis team for the 2013-2014 season.
Alexandra Fields ’13 is gearing up to be a Middlebury Panther!
On Wednesday, May 1, Alexandra signed her letter to commit to play tennis for Middlebury College as her mother, Carrollton alumna Madeleine Sophie Fields '78 and classmates cheered her on. Middlebury College is a Division III institution located in Middlebury, VT, whose women’s tennis team has had a successful season thus far with a record of 10-5.
Alexandra has had many accomplishments as a member of the Carrollton Varsity Tennis Team during her years as a Cyclone. Some of her accolades include competing at the FHSAA Tennis Finals and winning the Individual Doubles Bracket with her partner, Lindy Lyons ’17, last month.
Next year, Alexandra will be sporting her blue and white gear as a Panther for the 2013-2014 season.
Posted Thursday, May 2, 2013
Carrollton's Robotics Program competes at the local, national and international level.
With a name like “Rosie” you might expect pure sweetness – but not this Rosie she’s as tough as nails, literally.
Rosie is 3-pound combat robot built by sophomore Alexis Vidaurreta and her teammates. Named for her rose-gold exterior, Rosie competed Sunday in the STEMTECH Olympics at Booker T. Washington High School. Up against robotics teams from high schools across Dade-County teams, Carrollton nearly swept the competition with a first, second, fourth and fifth place finish. Carrollton’s freshman team finished in first place.
The STEM competition came on the heels of RoboGames, the world’s largest international robotics competition, held annually in San Francisco. Carrollton was one of only three high schools at the event. Participants included engineering professionals, as well as, representatives from colleges and universities, from 17 countries for a total number of teams exceeding 700. In a dazzling display of creativity and mastery, Carrollton performance was exceptional. Out of 32 teams in their combat division* Carrollton placed 5th, 9th and 13th. The first 3 wins our Freshman team of Sabrina Tamames, Yumi Dondo, Luli Magolnick, Ceci deArmas, Olivia Easton, Nati Batlle and Elena del Barrio Cocca scored on their way to 5th place were against a team from Georgia Tech, a professional engineer and a team from a university in Brazil. Sophomores Emily Ariz, Sara Dwyer, Cristina Menendez and Alexis Vidaurreta came in 9th place. Juniors Alex Gonzalez, Josefina Moni and Isabella Jimenez delivered a 13th place finish.
In all, 30 Carrollton students and a cheering section of 18 chaperones spent the week in California competing at the highest level. Teacher Alan Crockwell, who oversees Carrollton’s high school robotics program, said Carrollton looks forward to this challenge because “this competition brings together the best of the best,” a distinction Carrollton’s award winning program has claimed in the 15 years the program has been in place.
“This is an area dominated by men,” Mr. Crockwell said. “Sure there are other girls who compete on teams, but Carrollton stands apart as an all-female group.” Carrollton’s robotics program currently consists of nearly 100 high school students. Students meet weekly after school at an off-campus machine shop where teams of three to five girls work together to build every aspect of their robot including design, electronics and programming.
“We are teaching them to be creative and tenacious,” Crockwell said. “They need to think on their feet and be resourceful. Those are skills that don’t always come through traditional academic courses, but those are skills that will serve these girls for the rest of their lives.” Continued interest in engineering, whether as a chosen career or not, is also a by-product of the program as evidenced by the participation of three Carrollton alumnae, Lauren Stiger ‘02, Andrea Suarez ‘06 and Jennifer Villa ’09 who competed in their respective divisions.
Vidaurreta says she spends anywhere from two to six hours a week on robotics, but insists the time and energy are well spent.
“I think I've learned how to solve problems more effectively as a result of this, because there are so many problems involved with building a robot,” she said.
While out in California, the team had an opportunity to get to know a handful of “robotics royalty,” including Greg Munsen, inventor of Battlebots; Peter Abrahamson, creator of robots used in films like Men in Black; and Grant Imahara, co-star of Mythbusters television series. These gentlemen were the speakers at a dinner held exclusively for the Carrollton team. They each spoke about what was to be gained by being in a program such as Carrollton’s. They also commented on how this school is changing a generation of young men’s views on what women engineers can accomplish.
Those aren’t the only superstars to cross their path this month. The robotics teams took part in Miami Heat Fan Fest earlier in the month, and battled it out with Dwayne Wade, and Shane Battier, among other basketball superstars.
Every step of the way, Crockwell says competitors and spectators, including the Heat players, are in awe of the girls’ work.
“The impact of what these girls do is simply amazing,” he said.
* Combat robotics involves remote controlled robots battling it out in a small-enclosed arena. A robot is declared a winner if it knocks out its competitor. If that doesn’t happen, judges decide whom the winner is based on strategy, aggression and damage inflicted.
Posted Wednesday, May 1, 2013
High School students studying French recently competed in the 2013 National French Contest.
Students studying French in the High School recently competed in the 2013 National French Contest- Le Grand Concours- an annual competition sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French. Students of French in Grades 1 through Grade 12, in all 50 states and abroad, take a written test and compete against students with similar educational background for recognition.
The following Carrollton students scored in the ‘top 10 rankings’ nationally:
Gabriela Kort Kamp – Grade 9, French I
Maria Mantero – Grade 9, French I
Amanda Clichy Silva – Grade 9, French I
Camila Carballo – Grade 10, French II
Erica Garcia – Grade 10, French II
Natalia Fernandez – Grade 10, French II
Alexandra McDonnell – Grade 10, French II
Sima Vasquez – Grade 10, AP French
Alexa Economacos – Grade 11, IB French I HL
Beatrice Dunoyer de Segonzac – Grade 11, IB French I HL
Zelmira Rizo Patron – Grade 11, IB French I HL
Alessandra Luedeking – Grade 12, IB French II SL
Cara Vasquez – Grade 12, IB French II HL
Alexa Garcia, who started her study of French last year when she entered Carrollton in Grade 9, earned a perfect score on the 2013 Grand Concours resulting in her recognition at both the state and national level at the ‘first rank.’ Congratulations to all our French students and their dedicated teachers Madame Bernard and Madame Kirsch. Bravo et felicitations!